Historically speaking, “Spurensuche” refers in German to the discovery of something found in a particular place, to history from below. If research interests are added, method joins content. In this, perhaps, lies the success of the “Competition in History for the Prize of the President of the German Federal Republic” by which since the 1980's whole generations of students have gained knowledge by doing research.
some 20 years later representatives of German-speaking communities of greater
Chicago decided to select some appropriate local themes for a “Spurensuche”,
they tried something new:
• For the first time Austrians, Swiss, and Germans explored common themes that relate to the ethnic presence of their respective groups in the American Midwest.
• As a start, they also attempted for the first time to identify significant pointers to that presence for the years since the Second World War.
• New also is the common framework that is perhaps best symbolized by Goethe's West-Eastern Divan - the actual involvement of those communities in the realities of their host country's multiculturalism.
already identifies the purpose of this publication. It wants to serve as a
guide for further exploration of similar activities and significant impulses
that stem from German-speaking communities themselves. Thereby windows shall
be opened, not claims established; questions shall be raised, not quick answers
given; ways shall be sought that lead towards a better mutual understanding
of cultural differences.
The target groups
of this “Spurensuche” are perceived as similarly diverse. The
effort hopes to engage tourists interested in their own ethnic background
or in that of others, to reach artists who understand themselves as part
of a German-speaking group and, above all, to inspire students and teachers
who want to integrate new authentic themes into the curriculum of their
German language programs.